A Certified Peer Recovery Advocatecan influence a community through advocacy from a unique viewpoint. Their experiences provide real-life examples for establishing the needs of people with substance use disorders and theoutcomes of public policy on substance use disorderrecovery success. The CPRA should not undervalue their ability to impact access to suitable, competent, and effective quality treatment for people withsubstance use disorders. The CRPA is in an outstanding position to share with many community leaders the importance of suitable substance use disorderservices offered to itsresidents.
Substance use disorder treatment access, costs, and successful outcomes are a big part of many political agendas. Although communityleaders are regularly tasked with taking positions on many substance abuse proposals, it’s the CRPA who really comprehends the issues and because of personal experienceshould be deemed as reliable and trustworthy by the public. It is importantthat the CPRA prepares themselves to be able to speak up where decisions onpolicy are made. This gives the CRPA a chance to educate community leaders by including their experiences and knowledge into the conversation.
The many opportunities the CRPA has observed personally the positives and negatives of the current system which allows them to identify the needs and concerns related to the care that people withsubstance use disorders receive. When the CRPA hasthe ability to share personal experiences andinsights with community leaders, they can advocate for their clients and theclient’s family successfullyand become an influential power in the policy-making procedure. Whether the CRPA isadvocating for improvedaccess to treatment or betterfunding for drug awareness education, their personalexperience reinforces the ability to persuade communityleaders to produce theneeded changes concerningcare and services in a arrayof areas.
Although personal experience can bring awareness to issues, aloneit does not offer good solutions.The CRPA also needs the capability to examine these personal experiences so they can propose positive changes and encourage community leaders to makethese changes. The CRPAshould improve the skills that allow them to partake in the public policyprocess. The CRPA should provide information to assist the community in understanding the problem, and solutions. This could be through generating coverage in the local media,distributing flyers, social media, and organizing presentations to local community groups.
The cost and shortage of access to substanceuse disorder treatments make it problematic for some people to obtain the care they need inorder to recover. Discussions with people with substance use disorders, neighbors, and the generalpublic can bring awareness to these situations and help the CPRA address insufficient funding and access to services and the effect this has on people with the substance us disorders. The CRPA can affect education of substance use prevention by advocating in school systems. The CRPA can become involved in thecommunity and attend school board meetings to share the undesirable impact substance use has on a community. It’s vital for the CPRA to share the destructive impact on the community and use theirknowledge and personal experience to educate and advocate for change. The CRPA can advocate for thelack of drug prevention education with school parents, teachers, principals, and school boards. Statisticsand information on drug use in our youth can help build a case to establish how important drug prevention education is for thecommunity. By educating students, parents, and school administrators, the CPRAhelps them to become great allies to effect needed changes to increase drug prevention education for students in the schoolsystems.
The CPRA can influence substance use disordertreatment through their associations and personalexperiences in their various agencies. Perhaps a given agency is consideringimplementing a new program. A board meeting may be held to facilitate adiscussion about the proposed program for that agency. The CPRA could join the board meeting and offer information about why theproposed program would be a good idea. Based onpersonal experiences, The CPRA can stress the benefits of the suggested program.
The CRPA could explain the possible impact of the program for clientsin the agency, includingthe effect of the programon client care, the length of time a client would attend theprogram, scheduling issues, and expected benefits of the program such as enhanced client care, positiveoutcome, and client satisfaction. Often,funding for one program competes with funding for another program. Thus, it is essential that the CRPA gain a broad understandingof the different programs in their agency that may be seeking funding in orderto better impact the discussion about funding allocation. Doing this will helpsecure the funding needed for the new program be suggested.
The CRPA can also impact legislation. Providing information to electedofficials can be a source of significant influence. As a representative of the peer advocate community involved in the policy making procedure, the CRPA has the opportunityand the obligation to offer correct and up to date information. This opportunity requires theCRPA to be ready to discussthe issue accurately, thatinformation be based on reliable research, and the facts be double checked and presented in a straightforward understandable way. The first step in this process is to concentrate on a specific problem or issue. The issue could be as simple as wanting to give public acknowledgement to a person or event or focusing on an issue that has a morecomplicated nature. The issue needs to be communicated to a community leader who believes the issue is worth addressingthrough the legislative process and who will work with legal counsel to develop a bill. Once the bill is established, the legislator will contact colleagues to gain support forits introduction.
A bill is usually initiated only after some backing for the suggested piece of legislation has been obtained. An elected official who is wellrespected and who sits on a committee can carry significant weight inthis process and can best assist the bills advancement. The CRPA’s approach must be amiable and given in a spirit of cooperation with the hope of attaining the wanted outcome. The CRPA has the experience, knowledge, and skills to be excellent advocates. The CRPA can generate change by engaging inthe advocacy process in the community to influence substance use disorder treatment access, cost, andquality.
The abilities theCRPA needs to become an effective advocate includes the capability to develop a well-defined and extensive understanding of the issues, to know who needs to be advocated to, andto know how the proposed solution will affect the problem being addressed. The CRPA should earn the confidence and respect of the community bybeing as well-informed as possible on the issue beingaddressed. The CRPA has somuch to offer: their understanding, persistence, and the courage of theirconvictions. The viewpointsof the CRPA, personal experiences, and our passionfor what we do are valuable tools for creatinglasting change.